CDC sounds the alarm over highly contagious virus outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put Americans on alert over a national uptick in a highly contagious virus and this time it isn’t COVID but rather a very nasty bug that is currently spreading.

The latest public health threat is the Norovirus which is the virus that causes the stomach flu and it is currently raging across the country with the agency urging people to take appropriate precautions to protect against the easily spreadable illness that is predicted to be caught by one in fifteen Americans who could experience symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, severe vomiting and diarrhea.

According to the CDC, “You may hear norovirus illness be called ‘food poisoning,’ ‘stomach flu,’ or “stomach bug.” Noroviruses are the leading cause of foodborne illness, but other germs and chemicals can also cause foodborne illness.”

“Norovirus illness is not related to the flu, which is caused by influenza virus,” the agency notes, stating that the most common ways to contract the virus are through direct contact with a person who is infected, the consumption of contaminated food or water or touching surfaces that have been contaminated and then putting one’s unwashed hands in their mouth.

(Video: YouTube/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

According to the agency, “Norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines. This is called acute gastroenteritis” with symptoms usually developed 12 to 48 hours after exposure with most people getting better within 1-3 days.

“If you have norovirus illness, you can feel extremely ill, and vomit or have diarrhea many times a day. This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses,” the CDC states.

Image: Screengrab/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Outbreaks for the easily transmissible virus are common and can occur anytime, most often in the winter months from November to April with the most common setting where people are most susceptible to catching it being healthcare facilities, restaurants and catered events, cruise ships and schools and childcare centers.

The CDC recommends that people take appropriate steps to protect themselves and others including washing your hands often, thoroughly rinsing fruits and veggies, thoroughly cooking shellfish, staying home when sick and for two days after symptoms have ceased and avoiding the preparation of food for others when sick and for two days after symptoms have stopped.

Image: Screengrab/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

“For the overwhelming majority, the illness is usually self-limited, resolving on its own without medical intervention. It’s not fun to have and can lead to dehydration quickly. Dehydration can be especially worrisome in the elderly and young kids, and it can lead to serious complications,” according to Fox News medical contributor Nicole Saphier, M.D.

“Foods that are commonly involved in the outbreaks include leafy greens (lettuce), fresh fruit and shellfish. The highly contagious virus typically spreads from unwashed hands (especially after using the restroom and/or vomiting) handling food or surfaces food is placed upon,” Dr. Saphier added. “Norovirus can remain viable on surfaces and still infect people for days if not cleaned appropriately. Aggressive handwashing and keeping surfaces unsoiled are key to helping reduce the spread of this pesky virus.”

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